Mom’s Out of Money, Now She’s MOVING IN

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This was a real phone call I received last week from a gentleman in our Rotary club.  It’s all too common nowadays with the “Silver Tsunami” and their own “Sandwich Generation” issues they are dealing with in their own lives.  We sincerely appreciated that he thought of EtMM and ADM Architecture to help him with his situation.

His part of the conversation went something like this:

“My mother-in-law has been living in senior community for the last 9 years.  She moved there when her husband died, mostly for the social interaction and companionship she’d get to enjoy there.  But at $4,000 per month, after 9 years, we’ve opted to cash her out with her remaining stocks.  We felt that at her age she couldn’t handle another timing drop or major dip in the market with her remaining funds.  Therefore we want to be able to save those remaining funds for when she may really need future medical care in a facility setting.

We are just moving into a newly constructed home with about 2,000 square feet on the main floor, including two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  She’ll need to shower in our walk-in shower vs. the tub/shower in the other bathroom nearest to what will be her bedroom, but there are other things we know we need to learn and consider to help her continue to be the completely capable and independent person that she’s always been and currently is.”

This is a GREAT conversation to be having with a client, for a few reasons:

1) They are PLANNING!  This is wonderful to see, as it’s clear they can see the longer term picture and considering what the future MAY bring.  I’m impressed and appreciative of the forethought, as it’s unfortunately too rare.

2) They are looking at how they as adult children (and Baby Boomers themselves) can help extend their mother’s finances and retirement funds for the future and her expected longevity.  I’m touched by the things they are willing to do which some would consider “sacrifices”, but I see as a loving opportunity to make helping family a two way street.

3) Notice that just the “social community” of elder care facility options with limited or no medical care or oversight, STARTS at $4,000 per MONTH!  That’s the LOW END of the CCRC spectrum for facility care – it ONLY goes UP from there… I’m glad to see that he can understand the SAVINGS that can QUICKLY come as a ROI (Return on Investment) when compared to her facility-based alternatives, by remodeling their home’s interiors to suit her independence needs.

You could do a $150,000 remodel financed with a currently 5% HELOC (home equity line of credit – with equity in your home and a decent FICO credit score) and only be paying $750 per month on that loan payment vs. $4,000 to $8,000 per month at CCRCs!

4) Although it’s a full blog post in and of itself, it’s also worth noting that the SPEC BUILDER didn’t consider these things that is now my client and was they’re recent BUYER NEEDS NOW.  I have touched on this (and will continue to) in other posts, but I wanted to mention it here too – this builder has been ridiculed and called out on the topic in the recent past, even by me with less-abled people flanking me at the podium in a city council meeting in January – yet they continue to build the cheapest homes they can which are designed for NO ONE IN PARTICULAR, and especially not any boomer or their family…

That’s why this Boomer couple is coming to us for an architectural design “Aging in Place in home assessment”.  We do this regularly.  We have a flat “two tiered” fee structure for either 2 hours or 4 hours on site at the home.  In this time we meet with the family, the client, the potential caregivers, and any other related professionals that are a part of the equation (Occupational Therapist, Geriatric Care Manager, even an Elder Law Attorney or Financial Planner / Asset Manager if available.)

ADM Architecture’s tag line is “Listening, Solving, Creating… Architecture without the EGO”.  We discuss the situation opening at length with all parties, looking to ask real and sometimes challenging questions to help expose and solidify the “program” of design considerations that will best suite the client’s and caregiver’s needs.  Along with this service, we also take photos, sketch some key solutions, and create a summary letter of our findings and recommendations.

The VALUE of having PROFESSIONALS involved in your solutions is CRITICAL.  There are many people that will (and do) try to D.I.Y. (do it yourself) their solutions, and it’s typically a panic call we receive later, in the 11th hour, that those folks reach out for help, and spend more fixing than they would have planning to begin with.  LEARN from this story!  Save the money.  Save the stress.  Save the emotional exhaustion.  Save the Fear.  Save yourself from the regrets.  Get the professionals, get the assessment… Get STARTED NOW, before you’re in PANIC mode vs. PLANNING mode!

Image Credits – 
View over neighborhood:
Dollar Signs:
Meeting around table:

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